AUSTRALIAN Wool Innovation is hoping to tap into the creative energy of student app builders for wool’s benefit with a unique tertiary scholarship and inter-varsity program.
The wool research, development and marketing body has announced a collaboration with the Entrepreneurship Commercialisation and Innovation Centre at The University of Adelaide to create the 2017 Australian Wool Innovation Tech eChallenge.
At the recent AWI annual general meeting, AWI chief executive officer Stuart McCullough said agri-tech had been a big interest of his and the eChallenge sought to involve students who study electrical engineering and other tech-based curriculum, but spend their nights trying to build apps and their own business.
“They stay up all night trying to create the next Airbnb or the next Uber.
“I tried to think of the way that we could have them staying up all night working on agritech and in particular things that are going to help wool growers.”
Mr McCullough said the eChallenge would initially offer 10 scholarships of $6000 to teams of students and academics from any South Australian University, business professionals, researchers and the wider community. Click here to get Sheep Central story links sent to your email inbox.
Victorian Tech eChallenge coming
A second phase in the Tech eChallenge would involve offering a similar program to Deakin University and Marcius Oldham College students in Victoria, Mr McCullough said. Winning teams from Victoria and South Australia would then compete on an inter-varsity basis.
“All that intellectual property will be ours, it come back to us, or we’ll have part-ownership of.”
Mr McCullough said more importantly, the eChallenge would start focusing the winners, the scholarships prizes and others on technology products that can help wool growers.
The South Australian Tech eChallenge teams will undertake a hands-on, experiential course based around the successful innovation process developed by the Entrepreneurship, Commercialisation and Innovation Centre (ECIC). They will be exposed to key techniques and processes that help uncover the types of technical innovations that are sought after to create technology-based solutions, AWI said.
The Australian Wool Innovation Tech eChallenge provides an opportunity via an applied innovation forum, to develop practical, low-cost digital tools that automate routine on farm operations for woolgrowers. Such developments support productivity and welfare improvements and genetic progress, AWI said.
Mr McCullough said is delighted to be part of the innovative approach to attracting the very best minds in the ‘tech world’ toward the ‘agri-tech world’.
“We recognise that extraordinary effort has to be made to draw attention to wool.
“The University of Adelaide with their world class Roseworthy and Waite campuses is a very natural choice.”
The Australian Wool Innovation Tech eChallenge program collaboration forms part of the Farm Automation & Software Development strategy of the Sheep Production Portfolio in the 2016/17 – 2018/19 Strategic Plan.
The University of Adelaide’s undergraduate programs academic director Dr Gary Hancock said the program uses cutting edge, 21st century educational techniques.
“It allows participants to learn as they develop their opportunities and get feedback from real investors, industry experts, and entrepreneurs.”
The Tech eChallange starts in March 2017 and winners will be announced in June.
Registrations are now open: visit www.adelaide.edu.au/echallenge/enter